A Chattanooga, Tennessee, high school athletics director has been placed on administrative leave after a video was posted, and then deleted, of him saying boys should “blame the girls” if they were upset about the dress code, WTVC reported.
The Chattanooga Times Free Press and other outlets obtained copies of the video and re-uploaded them. The video was originally posted on Soddy-Daisy High School’s YouTube page, according to WTVC.
In it, Jared Hensley faces the camera and talks about the school’s policy of not wearing athletic shorts.
“I know, boys, you’re thinking, ‘I don’t understand why, it’s not fair, athletic shorts go past your knees.’ I didn’t make the rules. I kinda did. But that’s the rules,” he says in the video, before saying students would be punished for wearing them.
“If you really want someone to blame, blame the girls. Because they pretty much ruin everything. They ruin the dress code ... They ruin .. well, ask Adam. Look at Eve. That’s really all you really gotta get to, OK. You can really go back to the beginning of time. So, it’ll be like that the rest of your life. Get used to it, keep your mouth shut, suck it up, follow the rules.”
He then asks the students to cut down on “PDA” (public displays of affection) while in school, and admonishes everyone to drive home safely.
The video went viral on Wednesday and was promoted by the Chattanooga group “Chattanooga Moms for Social Justice,” which wrote that it was shared in a private Facebook group before the group encouraged its members to contact school board representatives. WTVC said in its story that angry viewers had contacted it as well.
Hamilton County Schools Superintendent Bryan Johnson issued a news release condemning the remarks.
“As an educator, I believe that all students deserve a high-quality education. In Hamilton County Schools, we are committed to serving all students well. We have reviewed the video content,” he wrote. “We find the comments about young women in this video inexcusable, as the sentiments expressed do not align with the values of Hamilton County Schools.”
Johnson wrote that Hensley was placed on immediate administrative leave during an investigation.
“We hold our employees and our leaders to a high standard, and these comments do not match the high expectations we have for our employees,” Johnson wrote.
One school board member, Tucker McClendon, said the comments were “stupid” and demanded an apology, while another member, Rhonda Thurman, said the controversy was “ridiculous” and that Hensley was “trying to be funny,” according to the Times Free Press.
Danielle Mitchell, a Tennessee congressional candidate, shared the story on Facebook and wrote that “This is why women don’t report, why women are scared, why women tend to blame themselves.”
Some student leaders put their support behind Hensley, including the senior class president, Tori Brown, the Chattanoogan reported.
“I believe that what Hensley said was not well thought-out and was taken a little bit too far. With that being said, as a female at Soddy-Daisy High School, I have never felt victimized or shamed for who/what I am by Hensley or any other staff member,” she wrote, according to the site. “I 100% cannot speak for every female at the high school and tell you their feelings on the issue, but as for your senior class president and vice president, we are 100% behind Hensley.”